We bought the "Towster" entirely over the internet from Dan at Vintage Campers in Indiana. We originally looked at Dan's site for old house parts for our 100 year old home but became increasingly attracted to the vintage trailers. We have tent camped all our lives but were looking at pop-up trailers as an alternative to tents. What we really wanted was an Airstream* and thought that a "used" one seemed like a better deal than a "new" Coleman tent trailer. It was the beginning of our "Aluminum Fever".
*Check out "Airstream", a song from the Pat Metheny Group's American Garage album.
|This beautiful picture of a 21 foot trailer in the snow convinced us that this was the unit for us.||The interior seemed pretty complete.The table can seat up to 5 people. (This and the next 3 photos don't enlarge much.)||The rear bed pulls out into a "double" - which kind of overstates the case.||Stove, oven, water heater and furnace all worked fine. The fridge was a residential AC only unit and not attached.||We had Dan replace this porta-potty with a Thetford something other before it left Indiana.|
Having done our research, we contacted Rick Davis (the newest Vintage Airstream Club president) to deliver our new family member. Upon Rick's recommendation, we had Dan replace the tires for the Towster's trip "Across the Heartland" (another Pat Metheny song). Unfortunately, Rick encountered difficult weather - extreme cold and snow (it was January). Windows started breaking soon after he left Indiana. Frequent stops to apply more plastic, cardboard and duct-tape were the email messages we received via email from the road. Finally, on Martin Luther King Day - January 21, 2002, they arrived in sunny Southern California.
|Rick's preliminary pictures before leaving Indiana - front/curbside.||Street/rear-end.||Street-side.||First broken window - one of those curved Corning glass ones.|
|Rick's "on-the-road" repair.||Another stop because of heavy weather.||Kitchen window now broken.||Plastic covering kitchen sink window.|
In all, four windows broke during the journey. Rick, the most experienced guy in the business, said he'd never seen anything like it in all his years. We lost all three across the front (2 curved, one flat rectangular) and the kitchen window which also was curved and rounded. From my research on the Vintage Airstream archives - 1969 was one of the first years that the curved glass was used and they are considered to be very brittle. Perhaps we should consider ourselves fortunate not to lose more.
|After much anticipation, the Towster pulls up in front of our house.||Rick backs it into our backyard through our alley - good thing - we didn't have a hitch yet!!||Safely planted in the yard - we start to explore the hatches.|| Rick and
Vince discuss the hazards of the open road.
|Despite the damage, we're happy to have it home.|
The Vintage Airstream list archives (airstream.net) have been invaluable in figuring out how best to repair and restore our new acquisition. Along with our do-it-yourself projects of replacing the broken windows and general maintenance, we have had Inland RV replace the axle, wheels, brakes, shocks, install a new Dometic fridge and rebuild the cabinetry around the fridge and heater.
|New glass in front window and cardboard template in place for "Lexan" replacement.||New Lexan piece in kitchen window.||Vacuuming up broken glass - it was everywhere!||Starting to move the AC only fridge out.||Documenting "rear-end separation" for a future repair project.|
Now that the Towster is "roadworthy", it was time to leave its cushy life by the pool and it hit the open road. It's spent numerous weekends in Landers, CA with the Riverside Astronomical Society as well as time at Mt. Laguna (near San Diego) for more stargazing. After these maiden voyages, it was time to head up Hwy. 395 to June Lake with the entire family (5 of us) for a much needed week of canoeing and fishing. One of the real joys of this trip was fielding questions from curious travelers about our cool trailer. One of the most frequent comments was "I hear they tow great". Compared to the monster RVs that were parked all around us - it's no surprise.
|The Towster relaxing by the pool.||The Towster enjoying a sunset during a star-party weekend in Landers, CA.||Martinis using ice from the new Dometic fridge.||Stopping for lunch at Coso Junction, along Hwy. 395.|
Here's some more recent photos that I just scanned in showing some of details of the Towster. The purpose of these photos vary - some are just for documentation - like the original light fixtures, others are for the eventual before and after pictures. Also take note of the "hideous" carpet - it will be replaced when the rear-end seperation/rotten floor issues are dealt with sometime in the next year.
|Torn spot on original Carefree awning - to be replaced eventually.||Rear utility back - LtoR - black water tank, pressure regulator, battery, 12V fuse panel (note - no univolt).||Control panel in front bulkhead - we presume installed by a previous owner - includes 8-track tape player.||New Dometic fridge and new cabinetry installed by Gregg at Inland RV.|
|Front couches/beds - note the original factory installed fabric.||Sink and Magic Chef stove .||Bedroom window and light fixture.||Rear "double" bed - in couch position. (Gotta love the one you're with - it's narrow!)|
|Tongue, propane holders and sway control assemblies. To be refinished.||Swing out step - to be refinished.||Atwood water heater - interior.||Atwood water heater - exterior.|
Email - DarkRmPro@sbcglobal.net